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What God Himself could not do.
The institution that is now erroneously called the State generally classifiespeople only into two groups: citizens and aliens. Citizens are all thosewho possess full civic rights, either by reason of their birth or by an actof naturalization. Aliens are those who enjoy the same rights in some otherState. Between these two categories there are certain beings who resemblea sort of meteoric phenomena. They are people who have no citizenship inany State and consequently no civic rights anywhere.
In most cases nowadays a person acquires civic rights by being bornwithin the frontiers of a State. The race or nationality to whichhe may belong plays no role whatsoever. The child of a Negro who once livedin one of the German protectorates and now takes up his residence in Germanyautomatically becomes a 'German Citizen' in the eyes of the world. In thesame way the child of any Jew, Pole, African or Asian may automaticallybecome a German Citizen.
Besides naturalization that is acquired through the fact of having been bornwithin the confines of a State there exists another kind of naturalizationwhich can be acquired later. This process is subject to various preliminaryrequirements. For example one condition is that, if possible, the applicantmust not be a burglar or a common street thug. It is required of him thathis political attitude is not such as to give cause for uneasiness; in otherwords he must be a harmless simpleton in politics. It is required that heshall not be a burden to the State of which he wishes to become a citizen.In this realistic epoch of ours this last condition naturally only meansthat he must not be a financial burden. If the affairs of the candidate aresuch that it appears likely he will turn out to be a good taxpayer, thatis a very important consideration and will help him to obtain civic rightsall the more rapidly.
The question of race plays no part at all.
The whole process of acquiring civic rights is not very different from thatof being admitted to membership of an automobile club, for instance. A personfiles his application. It is examined. It is sanctioned. And one day theman receives a card which informs him that he has become a citizen. Theinformation is given in an amusing way. An applicant who has hitherto beena Zulu or Kaffir is told: "By these presents you are now become a GermanCitizen."
The President of the State can perform this piece of magic. What God Himselfcould not do is achieved by some Theophrastus Paracelsus ofa civil servant through a mere twirl of the hand. Nothing but a stroke ofthe pen, and a Mongolian slave is forthwith turned into a real German. Notonly is no question asked regarding the race to which the new citizen belongs;even the matter of his physical health is not inquired into. His flesh maybe corrupted with syphilis; but he will still be welcome in the State asit exists today so long as he may not become a financial burden or a politicaldanger.
In this way, year after year, those organisms which we call States take uppoisonous matter which they can hardly ever overcome.
Another point of distinction between a citizen and an alien is that the formeris admitted to all public offices, that he may possibly have to do militaryservice and that in return he is permitted to take a passive or active partat public elections. Those are his chief privileges. For in regard to personalrights and personal liberty the alien enjoys the same amount of protectionas the citizen, and frequently even more. Anyhow that is how it happens inour present German Republic.
I realize fully that nobody likes to hear these things. But it would be difficultto find anything more illogical or more insane than our contemporary lawsin regard to State citizenship.
At present there exists one State which manifests at least some modest attemptsthat show a better appreciation of how things ought to be done in this matter.It is not, however, in our model German Republic but in the U.S.A. that effortsare made to conform at least partly to the counsels of commonsense. By refusingimmigrants to enter there if they are in a bad state of health, and by excludingcertain races from the right to become naturalized as citizens, they havebegun to introduce principles similar to those on which we wish to groundthe People's State.
The People's State will classify its population in three groups: Citizens,subjects of the State, and aliens.
The principle is that birth within the confines of the State gives only thestatus of a subject. It does not carry with it the right to fill any positionunder the State or to participate in political life, such as taking an activeor passive part in elections. Another principle is that the race and nationalityof every subject of the State will have to be proved. A subject is at anytime free to cease being a subject and to become a citizen of that countryto which he belongs in virtue of his nationality. The only difference betweenan alien and a subject of the State is that the former is a citizen of anothercountry.
The young boy or girl who is of German nationality and is a subject of theGerman State is bound to complete the period of school education which isobligatory for every German. Thereby he submits to the system of trainingwhich will make him conscious of his race and a member of the folk-community.Then he has to fulfil all those requirements laid down by the State in regardto physical training after he has left school; and finally he enters thearmy. The training in the army is of a general kind. It must be given toeach individual German and will render him competent to fulfil the physicaland mental requirements of military service. The rights of citizenship shallbe conferred on every young man whose health and character have been certifiedas good, after having completed his period of military service. This actof inauguration in citizenship shall be a solemn ceremony. And the diplomaconferring the rights of citizenship will be preserved by the young man asthe most precious testimonial of his whole life. It entitles him to exerciseall the rights of a citizen and to enjoy all the privileges attached thereto.For the State must draw a sharp line of distinction between those who, asmembers of the nation, are the foundation and the support of its existenceand greatness, and those who are domiciled in the State simply as earnersof their livelihood there.
On the occasion of conferring a diploma of citizenship the new citizen musttake a solemn oath of loyalty to the national community and the State. Thisdiploma must be a bond which unites together all the various classes andsections of the nation. It shall be a greater honour to be a citizen of thisReich, even as a street-sweeper, than to be the King of a foreign State.
The citizen has privileges which are not accorded to the alien. He is themaster in the Reich. But this high honour has also its obligations. Thosewho show themselves without personal honour or character, or common criminals,or traitors to the fatherland, can at any time be deprived of the rightsof citizenship. Therewith they become merely subjects of the State.
The German girl is a subject of the State but will become a citizen whenshe marries. At the same time those women who earn their livelihood independentlyhave the right to acquire citizenship if they are German subjects.
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